First time renters can sometimes get caught up in the excitement of living away from home for the first time, enjoying their newfound independence and may not take the time to properly check out that their landlord is an experienced professional landlord or that they shared some common ground with their new flatmates.
Renting a property is a business arrangement which must be taken very seriously. Students are warned to choose flat mates carefully, since in certain circumstances each individual tenant may be held jointly responsible for unpaid rent or damage to property caused by other tenants. Tenants are legally obliged to pay their rent and if they (or their flatmates) fall into arrears and do not repay them, they could end up facing prosecution. Students should also consider whether a 12 month lease suits their needs, if they only need the property for the academic year, since breaking a lease may incur penalties.
Students are also advised to know their rights in relation to deposits. This is the single biggest area of dispute referred to the PRTB each year. There are only three circumstances in which a Security Deposit may be retained i.e. if rent is owing, if damage beyond normal wear and tear has been done to the property or it utility bills are outstanding. Students should prepare a detailed inventory of all the contents of the rented property and the condition of each item, before they move in. Photos can be helpful if there is a dispute later.
To study your rights check out MyHome’s advice centre.